Marv Clyncke is a 69 year old native of Colorado, born and raised on the family homestead east of Boulder. He and his wife Judy still live there, and raised four boys and one girl, all married with families of their own. All are outdoors persons and the grandkids are all bowhunters and fishermen.
Marv is a true legend of our time, bowhunting for 54 years and was one of the first inductees into Colorado Bowhunters Hall of Fame. He was the first Colorado Bowhunters Association Bowhunter of the year of the year in 1974. He and his wife Judy (also a Bowhunter Hall of Fame’er) received the first Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society Board of Directors Award and are honorary Life members.
Besides being an incredible hunter, Marv is a true Gentleman and ambassador of our sport and I feel privileged and honored to present his interview.
Where do you live?
Boulder, Colorado on our family homestead.
What is your favorite species to hunt?
Sheep and big mulie bucks above timberline. And any thing else I can get a license for.
How many sheep hunts have you been on?
55 sheep hunts and 23 goat hunts. Have been on 12 sheep hunts and four goat hunts of my own, taking 3 rams and 3 goats. The rest helping other sheep hunters take 16 rams and 19 goats with bow. Have helped countless others on where to look for sheep and goat and show how to hunt them. I’m not a guide, just love to go along to help hunt sheep. I’ve never taken one penny in compensation for these hunts. I just believe that if I can help someone get a ram I will do it for the fun of it. I’ve been lucky to do what I’ve done in the outdoors in my lifetime and believe in helping others see what great fun sheep and goat hunting is.
Where were your sheep hunts?
Colorado, Wyoming, Alaska, B.C. Canada
Which outfitter did you hunt with? Why did you choose this outfitter?
Hunted in Alaska in 1971, 1974, and 1978 with outfitters that are no longer around. Hunted Alaska for my Dall’s ram in 1998 with Alaska Trophy Hunts– Tom Shankster. He is a bowhunter himself, a great pilot and is a very successful guide and outfitter.
Hunted for my Stone’s sheep in 1993 and 1994 with Scoop Lake Outfitters in B.C, Canada. They have a lot of nice rams and a great setup to hunt out of. Guides are knowledgeable and good sheep men. All bighorn hunts were self guided.
Did the outfitter offer you the proper gear list and preparation information?
Yes. I mainly use my own lists as I’ve done it so many times I know what I need and don’t need. These folks do have lists for new and not-so-new hunters. Always good to check against your list. Over the years I would take out gear I didn’t use other than safety/medical items, and add what I needed until my setup is the same for each hunt. Readmond Brothers Productions and I have a video out called “Bowhunting Alaska- a traditional bowhunters how-to guide”. This video tells how to look for a guide, how to prepare and what equipment to take. It is the best $15 a new or experienced sheep hunter -or any northbound big game hunter, can spend. It is available at 3 Rivers archery, Amazon and from Readmond Brothers.com. Even high tech hunters can get something out of this video!
What were the weather conditions throughout your hunt?
From bright and sunny to rain and snow. Alaska and Canada have more of the inclement weather than good. A hunter must be mentally prepared to hunt in bad weather for sheep. If you’ve spent a considerable amount of hard-earned cash on a hunt, you can’t just sit and wait for clear sunny days to hunt.
What was the hardest part of your hunt?
Getting around the small rams to get to the legal rams. In B.C. I would make from one to 5 stalks a day. All but the last one was blown by a small ram. We’ve had the same thing on many bighorn hunts in Colorado. Too many eyes make it tough to get close enough for a shot.
What were you not prepared for?
I’m always prepared for the hunt. Going unprepared-especially mentally, can lead to a bad hunt. I lied a little- I wasn’t prepared for the grizzly that came after my body in B.C.!!
What is your gear list for a Stone or Dall Sheep Hunt?
Marvin Clyncke Gear List
Most air taxis limit you to 65 lbs. I weigh my gear and weigh it again and again to make sure I’m at the limit. I change into my hunting clothes before I get on the air taxi as you and your clothes aren’t included in the 65 lbs. Besides, there’s not many dances in the wilderness of sheep country- until the ram goes down! Doesn’t make any sense to take a lot of extra gear and then leave it in the air-taxi’s shed!
I pack my backpack as full as I can with gear THAT WILL BE USED RIGHT AWAY ON THE HUNT. That way I know where it is at. I also make a list up with a drawing of my pack and show what is in each pocket and place in the pack so I don’t have to search for it.
What would you change on this list?
Nothing. I’ve got it down pretty pat.
What was your loaded pack weight?
I try to keep it at under 50 lbs. Sometimes I lose a little weight as I eat light to keep the weight down.
What size pack & brand of pack did you carry? Would you take this pack again?
Large Kelty green pack with external frame- old suckers! They are the best made then and now. I keep two extras that are close to new in case I tear one up or lose it. Had a bear eat one after packing out a ram in CO.
Do you have any recommendations of gear not typically on a gear list?
I carry a small utility marking flag on a wire to mark my pack when I take it off for a stalk. Just quickly stick it down thru the frame and into the ground. The flag sticks up 18″ or so, is bright colored and easy to see. Before I started using these little flags I spent half my life looking for packs we laid down and couldn’t find. These flags grow along construction projects and roads and are there for the pickin’! Taking one doesn’t seem to hurt the population.
What physical conditioning program did you do to get ready for your hunt(s)?
Any other training you would recommend?
I stay in shape all year around by hunting, photographing in the off season, shed hunting and just getting out looking. I don’t like to get out of conditioning. I spend a lot of time photographing bighorns in Colorado. Keeps my legs and wind in shape. Our one son and I also hike into high mountain lakes in the summer to fish, which really keeps me going. When it was a blizzard in winter I used to chase Judy around the house a lot, but we’re gettin’ to old for that now. Besides, she’s much faster than I am now!
How did you prepare?
I shoot all the time when we are hunting. I carry one hayrake in my quiver and shoot at anything that looks like it needs shot. I do shoot some on my backyard targets, but too much target shooting gets you in a rut of doing the same shot over and over. I’ve yet to see an animal stand around for 5 or 6 shots!
Never over 30 (once in a while I will get wild and shoot 31 yards). Like them 20 yards or under. That’s what bowhunting is all about- getting close, and beating the animal at their own game. A lot of bowhunters these days go just for the kill and not the hunt. Hunting! That’s what it’s supposed to be. Hunting is fun if one just lets it be fun. We all want a kill, but if that doesn’t happen it isn’t the end of the world. If you have to kill every time out, take a smoke-pole!
What was your bow set up?
Good ole Black Canyon or Bighorn longbow with a string and a nock-point. I don’t like things hanging on my bow like a bow quiver. That’s why I use a hip quiver. Today’s bows are too pretty to clutter up with gear! A simple longbow, wood arrows and razor-sharp broadheads- that’s all one needs.
Any changes you would make?
Ya, a homing device for hair!!
What advise do you have for a first time sheep hunter?
Get the mindset that you are going to have fun and if you get a sheep it’s icing on the cake. Set your goals realistically. All the big rams you see on TV and in the magazines are the cream of the crop, and most areas don’t even have rams of that caliber. If you have your mind set on a huge ram, go buy one on e-bay and then go out and shoot a nice representative of the species. Then on the second hunt raise the bar. Sheep hunting is a ball if you let it be. DON’T take a rifle along ‘IN CASE’. You might as well just shoot him with the rifle to begin with. I’VE SEEN THIS HAPPEN TIME AFTER TIME. If you have to kill an animal to have a good hunt forget the bow. Go on a bow hunt and realize sheep hunting is difficult and you may come home without one. Don’t let your buddies put the pressure on you. Real sheep bowhunters know what it’s like, and know it’s no shame to come home empty handed if you try your best. Sometimes those suckers just don’t want to die!
Anything else you would recommend or we are missing?
I always take along fresh pain pills and antibiotics just in case. I’ve used both several times and they saved the hunt. I also carry sutures in there own sterile packages as early on I had a broadhead accident that nearly cost me my hunting career- and my life! I’m pretty sure that I could sew myself up as the doc that sewed me up in 1961 didn’t have any anesthetics and sewed me without giving me anything. I learned right there what real pain was- and I think I survived it! Also, water purification is always a question. Lightweight filters are easy to take these days, but nasty tasting pills are easier to carry.
Lastly, and oh so important on a guided hunt. Before you go out, set your guide down and tell him IF YOU SHOOT MY ARROW HIT RAM, YOU BETTER HAVE A LICENSE FOR HIM!! Many guides help there not- so-confident rifle hunters finish off there animal. They do it for bowhunters too if they are not familiar with bowhunting, which a lot of them are not. Don’t wait til it happens. Tell them NO BULLETS!!!